Review: Bedeviled (2017)

Bedeviled had been in my Redbox for a few weeks, and I kept passing on it due to interest in other films. Finally, I relented and gave this unknown title a chance. I mean, it was right up my alley since I’m a big fan of modern, pop-culture technology mixing with horror elements. Mostly predictable and fairly straightforward, Bedeviled follows five high school students mourning the sudden death of one of their friends. Shortly after the young woman’s death, the group starts receiving smart phone invites from a new, voice activated app. After downloading it, they discover the app invited a demonic spirit into their lives and it’s looking for more than friend requests – it’s looking to up its body count. As they fall one by one, the remaining friends band together to uninstall the app from their phones and banish the evil spirit forever. Written, directed and produced by Abel Vang & Burlee Vang, Bedeviled stars Saxon Sharbino (Poltergeist), Mitchell Edwards (Dismissed), Victory Van Tuyl (“Marvin Marvin”), Brandon Soo Hoo (“From Dusk Till Dawn”), Carson Boatman (Devilish Charm), Alexis G. Zall (Ouija 2), and Robert Johnn Brewer & Jordan Essoe as Mr. Bedevil.

Content and story aside, I’m actually surprised that Bedeviled flew under everybody’s radar as much as it did. From a production standpoint, it’s an incredibly produced straight-to-DVD horror flick that could’ve possibly received a limited theatrical release based on film quality. Shout out to Abel & Burlee Vang, cinematographer Jimmy Ju Lu, editor Cole Duran and production designer Samantha Nicoletti for crafting something so successful. I’m happy that the blue filters weren’t over-used, and that the whole film was kind of bright. The current generation of cinema viewers are attracted to such things, and the modern generation of horror film viewers are exactly Bedeviled‘s target audience. I don’t know if any of them will actually enjoy this movie, but at least its trailer and promo media will be enough to encourage them towards a stream or Redbox purchase. Really, everything here was well shot and adequately acted. So, in terms of film production and the script, my only real complaint is the climax just ends without a whopping resolution; except for a small post-credits scene.

On the horror side of things, well, Bedeviled isn’t all that scary. Maybe if you’re an infrequent viewer or a younger viewer, you’ll be scared by some of the IT like moments. If you don’t like zombies, clowns, Slender Man or Stephen King’s IT, then Bedeviled will definitely be a movie that’s going to make you uncomfortable and chilly. Bedeviled is also very much like The Ring, which also blends an undead entity with technology; one that curses you through said technology. The problem here, much like a few moments in that franchise, is that all of the characters die off screen, so the blood is minimal and the gore is non-existent. The characters encounter Mr. Bedeviled, they die, their bodies are discovered by their friends, but the viewer never gets to see what Mr. Bedeviled did to them. It’s a huge missing piece that makes the movie incredibly unsuccessful. It’s hard to be scared of something that might not be too violent. Although there’s a high number of deaths and an even higher number of chase scenes, PG horror just isn’t good horror.

Bedeviled was basically what I expected. Good enough, but nothing I’d ever watch again. Final Score: 5 out of 10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)